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  • Writer's pictureEthan Fulton

New workshop: Fostering green innovation across Asia

From October 4-6, 2023, Jeffrey Beyer presented at a 3-day virtual workshop organized by the Asian Productivity Organization, centered on the role of public policy institutions in spurring innovation amidst the climate crisis. The event, backed by the Department Academy of the Philippines, focused on innovative low-carbon solutions.

Beyer's three presentations were "Policy Interventions for Boosting Energy Productivity", "Climate Finance and the Public Sector", and "Building Green Business Ecosystems through Incentives and Regulations". 18 participants attended, primarily from Asian public sector organizations, addressing key energy concerns. Participants highlighted the informativity and timeliness of the subjects covered.

Main takeaways from October's event:

1) Super ESCOs can address energy efficiency barriers, especially in construction.

energy efficiency issues diagram
Progress in energy efficiency is stymied by a host of factors.

ESCOs (energy service companies) provide technical and financial expertise to enhance energy efficiency, assuming a project's technical risk. But monitoring & verification processes are complex and complex contracts lead to skepticism and potential disputes.

But Super ESCOs, established by the government to support the private sector, help break these barriers. By developing relationships with financial institutions, the Super ESCO has sufficient capitalization to leverage commercial financing and receives a donor endowment. There already exist successful Super ESCOs - examples are Ukraine's UkrESCO, the Philippines' PEEP and Dubai's Etihad ESCO.

2) Middle Eastern governments reorienting finance is vital to meeting the SDGs.

zest green finance recommendations mena region
Zest Associates' MENA regional overview, identifying 8 countries and recommendations for green finance in each.

Middle Eastern governments from the UAE to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are leading the green energy transition, integrating everything from solar to green hydrogen into their long-term visions.

Their state-owned enterprises, which drive 20% of investment and 40% of domestic output in the region, can spur this green transition through their significant influence.

Zest Associates recommends that the region develop a "regional sustainability taxonomy", like the EU's initiative to create a common list of ecologically friendly activity in 2020, that agrees to define terms like 'sustainable finance' through concrete standards.

Tools like carbon pricing and regional carbon markets can work within the diversity of Middle Eastern economic frameworks. Frameworks for carbon markets already exist, such as the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence which offers advisory and carbon aggregation services and is exploring a carbon trading platform.

3) Incentives and regulations are crucial in kickstarting green ecosystems.

Green innovation requires coordination between producers and consumers to kick-start the market, and the policy environment is crucial. Policy push factors like net-zero targets and carbon pricing will speed up the adoption of renewables, and supply guarantees will incentivize producers. The $22.5 trillion in clean energy investment that is required by 2050 will require multifaceted effort on behalf of all policymakers, institutions and corporations.

zest united kingdom variable premium subsidy
This UK variable premium subsidy (Contracts for Difference) borrows from the CfD scheme that incentivizes electricity from offshore wind

zest germany h2global clearinghouse model
The German H2Global instrument establishes trade partnerships through a government-backed clearinghouse to connect producers and consumers.


Jeffrey Beyer underscored the importance of policies in the green transition, the potential of Super ESCOs, the pivotal role of Middle Eastern nations, and the need for regulations and incentives in advancing green initiatives as he presented at the Asian Productivity Organization's workshop.


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